Crêpes – by Audrey Fournier

There are some people who don’t follow a recipe; they just mix the basic ingredients (flour, egg(s), milk, butter, sometimes also sugar and rum) and add milk until the dough is liquid enough.

I am not part of these people, I need a recipe to follow when I am baking. For years, when I wanted to make crêpes (at least once a year on the 2nd of February for “la chandeleur” (Candlemas), the crêpe day in France), I followed the first recipe I could find on the internet or a recipe given by a friend or a family member. the crêpes were always good but none of these recipes really made outstanding crêpes. I have a small booklet where I write the recipes that I make again and again, and, to write a recipe in it, it has to be “approved” by myself, none of the previously mentioned recipes made it.

However, this chandeleur, I finally found my final crêpe recipe. When I search for a recipe, I always try to find a blog, because, most of the time, the person writing hundreds or thousands of recipes in a blog gives better recipes than Mr or Ms Everybody who writes one recipe in his/her life on Marmiton, 750g or such websites.

Anyway, maybe the recipe I found is not the best recipe for someone else, but it reminds me of my Grandma’s crêpes. She used to make a lot of them and gave them to my father so we could eat them in the evening. Before the end of the meal, my parents would bring some water to boil in a saucepan and put the plate with the crêpes on it to warm them. They were very thin and soft, and so good!!! I made this new recipe without high hopes but when I tried my first crêpe, it all came back to me and I decided that it would be my crêpe recipe from now on. I wrote the recipe in my little booklet, it’s approved !

If you are curious and want to try by yourself, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients (for 2 persons):

300 ml of semi-skimmed milk

1 vanilla stick

50g butter

3 eggs

20g sugar

1 pinch of salt

125g flour

1 teaspoon of rum or orange blossom extract (or aroma)

Put the milk in a saucepan. Cut open the vanilla stick in two and scrape the seeds, put everything in the milk.

Heat the milk (no boiling), add the butter and let cool down.

Beat the eggs and sugar, add the pinch of salt.

Add this mix to the flour then add the filtered milk/butter/vanilla mix while whipping.

Add the rum or the orange blossom extract (or aroma).

If it seems too thick, you can add a bit of milk (it was not needed when I tried the recipe).

Heat your pan and put a knob of butter before cooking the first crêpe.

Pour the dough in the pan in a thin layer (you can watch a video if you are not sure how to do it) and turn the crêpe when the first side is cooked  (it should easily come off the pan at this point). 

You can eat each crêpe as you remove it from the pan or stack them in a plate with aluminium foil on top to keep them warm.

Then you just have to savor them with the topping(s) of your choice: hazelnut paste, powdered or icing sugar, jam, lemon juice and sugar, melted chocolate…

Bitterbal- A Dutch Snack

Singular: Bitterbal; Plural: Bitterballen

After attending few events in the Netherlands, I noticed that no matter what the occasion, I found one sort of Dutch snack present in almost every event. Round, deep fried snack with thick, soft filling: Bitterbal.

Whether at my husband’s former office during Friday Midday gathering (Vrij-Mi-Bo/ Vrijdag Middag Borrel) or at a friend’s graduation or at a Pubquiz, it is there. My husband immediately fell in love with Bitterbal. And when we found the frozen ones at Jumbo, how could we not try it!

Mina Solanki’s piece on Bitterbal, A brief history of the typical Dutch bar snack: The bitterbal (iamexpat.nl), is an interesting read.

Enjoy!

MO:MO- A cuisine from Nepal by MEGHA VAIDYA

MO:MO (Nepali: मोमो; Nepal Bhasa: मम, small mo:mo – ममचा)

Nepal is rich in its cuisine. Different communities, ethnic groups have their own food culture. However, besides dal-bhat, what connects all is their love for mo:mo. As a humor, we call it our national food because everyone loves it and can eat it at any time of the day.

So what is mo:mo?

In general terms, mo:mo means dumplings. It could be either steamed or kothey or fried. But no matter how it is prepared, the most popular ones are buff-mo:mo (dumplings filled with water buffalo). But there are other kinds of mo:mos as well. Such as: chicken mo:mo; mutton mo:mo (goat meat); vegetarian mo:mo (meat lovers do not find it as mo:mo; but call it as steamed samosa. But I love making as well as eating this kind of mo:mo as well.); paneer mo:mo; spinach mo:mo; and many more. Mo:mo is evolving with time. However, buff-mo:mo is still the best. Nothing can beat that yumminess of buff-mo:mo.

And the soup that is served along with mo:mos only adds more richness to them. The soup is usually prepared from tomato, sesame seeds and coriander with spices according to the taste. Some love completely dipping the mo:mos in the soup while some pour some soup on top of the mo:mos.

Nepalese living abroad really miss mo:mos from back home. Most Nepalese make mo:mos when abroad. They are very tasty. But nothing like that of buff-mo:mo. So it is almost true with everybody (non-vegetarians) that the first thing or the most awaited food that they want to eat when they go back home is mo:mo, buff-mo:mo to be precise. That also in many cases from a specific place.

I am glad I grew up making mo:mos from the scratch at home. My dad used to supervise, and we 5 siblings would take the responsibilities. I being the youngest, used to take the easiest job: mix the filling well. (My dad used to say, mix the filling so well with your hand that it is cooked with the warmth of your hand. And of course, the hot oil that we pour on the filling helps to cook it.) My eldest sister or my mom used to prepare the soup. My mom used to prepare the dough and the filling (meat+ cabbage+ spring onions/ onions+ spices). My second eldest sister used to roll the wraps. My brother used to put the meatballs on the wrap. And my third eldest sister used to close the wrap.

Well, I feel nostalgic when I think of those times. All of us together. Nothing else used to bring all of us together in the kitchen. Definitely going to have mo:mos when I visit my family. 😊

Indian Chinese by NIKITA AGRAWAL

Indian cuisine is made up of numerous regional native cuisines and the food specialities are varied and abundant. So while I could have picked a pail from this vast sea to write about, I am about to take a slightly different route today.

Let me introduce you to the Indian adaptation of Chinese cuisine, i.e. Indian Chinese! Most restaurants have a page dedicated to Chinese dishes in their menu and it’s eaten throughout the country. The top 3 favourites are:

Manchurian – cabbage or meatballs in spicy brown sauce

Paneer Chilly – Cottage cheese in a flavourful sauce

Schezwan fried rice/ noodles – Rice or noodles (or both) in a spicy Schezwan sauce

If you are a native Chinese visiting India and ordering Chinese dishes, do not expect any resemblance to the Cantonese dishes unless you are eating at a very high end restaurant, the kind where you need reservations. In an alternate situation while visiting Hong Kong, I was served a bowl of very white looking noodles swimming in broth which looked bland but was actually very spicy and flavourful, the magic ingredient being chives. The Indian adaption of Chinese is however made with more local spices and is quite heavy on sauce and garlic. This variant is so popular that it has a separate Wikipedia page! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Chinese_cuisine). It is also available in Jain variant (a vegetarian community in India that does not consume garlic, onion, potatoes or roots).

And while I do love the original Chinese dishes, every Indian finds comfort in the Indian Chinese, the kind that is enjoyed at 2 am at street stalls, when the restaurants and eateries have long shut their operations for the day, or the stalls in busy commercial areas with a few plastic stools laid out on the pavement deriving income largely from office orders.